(photo by Jason Hickey)
A spokesman for Southern California Edison, the operator of the San Onofre nuclear power generating station (between LA and San Diego, the big white dome-shaped thing off I-5) was trying to calm fearful Southern California residents today when he explained that the 84-acre generating station was built to withstand a magnitude 7.0 earthquake. He also told local media that a 25-foot-high "tsunami wall" of reinforced concrete stood between the plant and the immediately adjacent Pacific ocean.
Well, that's nice. But this Southern California resident remains concerned: the earthquake that devastated Japan last Friday, throwing various nuclear power plants into crisis and sparking worldwide fears of a major nuke accident, was a 9.0 "great quake." And the tsunami that soon followed? That was 33 feet high.
When the plant was built 42 years ago (42 years! That's forever in design-years!), scientists predicted a 6.5 quake could strike the plant. The designers of the San Onofre plant built with a higher threshold in mind. But man, not high enough, for my money. There's a geological fault just 5 miles offshore, and good odds we'll be hit by a "great quake" of our own, sooner or later.
For context: those documents from TEPCO, operator of the stricken Fukushima plant in Japan, that were obtained by reporters at the Wall Street Journal? They show that engineers tested the Fukushima plant to withstand a quake up to magnitude 7.9.
Los Angeles Times article here.
In 1960, parapsychologist Anthony Donald Cornell donned a bed sheet and attempted to scare an audience watching an X-rated film in a movie theater. Why? Cornell, a believer in ghosts himself, wanted to understand how people reacted during “apparitional experiences.” Today at the BBC, University of Oxford experimental psychologist Matthew Tompkins explores Cornell’s strange experiments […]
With so many costumes adorning this election season, you might think the Halloween get-ups are overkill. Think again, because David Ng and B.R. Cohen are here to present the official universal survey about your candy favorites for the 2016 hierarchical delineation of candy virtue.
University of Zurich researchers used transcranial magnetic stimulation, a noninvasive method of inhibiting activity in parts of the brain, to “turn off” people’s ability to control their impulses. They focused on the temporoparietal junction, an area of the brain thought to play an important role in moral decisions, empathy, and other social interactions. They hope […]
I’ve never really felt the need to purchase a smartwatch because a lot of them aren’t very functional, but at just shy of $30, the Martian Notifier Smartwatch was worth checking out. For that low of a price, it actually does feature an impressive amount of functionality, and comes in handy when you don’t want to be carrying around your […]
Geek Fuel is a subscription delivery service that caters to those of us that love comics, gaming, and general geek culture. Every month, Geek Fuel will assemble a box of goodies with a value of $50 or over. The specific items are a mystery, but you’ll always get an exclusive t-shirt not found anywhere else, a full […]
If you like to DIY and you like helicopters, you’re going to really love the Flexbot Hexacopter Kit. This copter blows traditional models out of the water: it includes everything you need to actually build your own hexacopter, and then pilot it like a pro, too.The construction is complicated enough to give you a challenge, […]